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Méthode Traditionnelle – The Champagne Method

These dusty bottles of sparkling wine have been “Improving Quietly” and are now ready for finishing, just in time for Christmas – the bubbliest time of the year!

All of our sparkling wine is made by the méthode traditionnelle, or traditional method – the same age-old process by which Champagne is made.

The traditional method requires a secondary fermentation to occur, transforming base wine from still to sparkling, entirely inside the bottle in which the wine will be sold.

Base Wine or Cuvée: First, our grapes are harvested, pressed and fermented into base wine. Our winemakers then take the various base wines and blend them together into a “cuvée”. Our IQ Brut is the classic Champagne blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

Tirage: Our winemakers instigate the second fermentation by adding yeasts and sugar (called liqueur de tirage) to the base wine.

Bottling: Next, the base wine is bottled and fitted with crown caps (not corks).

Secondary Fermentation (inside the bottle): When yeasts convert sugar into alcohol, carbon dioxide (CO2) is a natural by-product. If fermentation takes place in a closed container, that prevents this CO2 from escaping into the air. With nowhere else to go, the CO2 becomes trapped in the wine, making it bubbly.

Aging: When the yeasts have finished working, they die in a process called autolysis and become lees. The lees remain in contact with the sparkling wine until removed by the winemaker, creating texture, richness, and complexity. Our IQ7 has been aging on its lees for a minimum of seven years.

Riddling: Before corking, the bottle goes through a process known as riddling where the bottle is frequently turned and repositioned until all the lees sediment sits in its upside-down neck.

Disgorging: The bottles are placed upside down into freezing liquid which causes the lees sediment to freeze in the neck of the bottle. The crown cap is then popped off, and the bottle’s pressure forces the frozen chunk of lees to shoot out.

Dosage: A mixture of wine and sugar (called dosage or liqueur d’expédition) is added to fill the bottles and then the bottles are corked, wired and labelled.

Want to know more about our wines

New Zealand’s temperate, maritime climate and rich, free-draining volcanic soils have brought new intense flavours and styles to the world wine market. With vineyards in prime locations such as Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough.

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